Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 24th.

Monday. 26th.

Sunday. 25th. CFA


Sunday. 25th. CFA
Sunday. 25th.

This was Christmas day. A day the celebration of which spreads itself over a very large portion of the Globe. A day however which carries with it less festivity now than it did in former times, and less here than it does elsewhere. It was clear and mild. I attended Divine Service all day. Heard in the Morning, Mr. Frothingham, in the Afternoon, Mr. Emerson. They were both Sermons upon the day. The former drew his Text from Matthew 2. 11. “And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts: gold and frankincense, and myrrh.” His idea seemed to be that these words conveyed a beautiful idea of the species of worship acceptable in the sight of the Deity. They were each images, the gold of purity, the frankincense of prayer the myrrh of sorrow or tears. I confess I am somewhat of mortal mould, and take things more as I find them. Mr. Emerson was from Isaiah 9. 6, 7. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” He compared the influence of the life of Christ with that of most of the mortal conquerors known to fame. That of these latter he affirmed to have been good though from no act of their own. I think the position questionable. That of the former was throughout perfect and so intended to be. A perfect example. He closed by predicting the spread of Christianity over the world. Mr. Emerson engages the attention, but I do not think him often conclusive. Read Massillon upon returning home. A fine Sermon upon the Catholic practice of Confession. Text from John. 5. 3. “In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.” He said the defects in confession might be likened to the three species of defects above named. 1. The blind, or those who from want of self examination did not know their own sins. 2. The lame, or those who made a partial or insincere confession. 3. The withered, or those who made it without sorrow and without repentance. The whole examination 205manifests considerable knowledge of human nature. But it is the gloomy side of it. There is no difference between the rigid Catholics and the rigid of all other Sects.

In the Evening, after reading to my Wife a part of the Canterbury Tales, I sat down and wrote off the larger part of my Second Number upon Mr. McLane after which The Spectator.